We don't work obeah, says Revivalist pastor
The practice of Revivalism in Jamaica is centuries old and is said to have originated in Africa.
The oppressed slaves who were taken here danced to the rhythmic beats of drums and chanted as a way of communicating with each other in a way that was unknown to the slave masters.
Fast forward today, several revivalist churches still exist in our society, but with much ridiculing and stigmatisation.
On Sundays, the Good News Seventh-day Zion Healing Assemblies Church, begins at 11 a.m. with divine worship, singing and consecration service. Located in the usually volatile Farm community in Clarendon, this church has a steady and growing membership.
Although founded by the current Bishop, who requests that his name not be used, 15 years ago, the building has only been there for 10 years. He says he was born a healer and has been performing healing since he was nine years old. "A long time me a do healing work, but me did stop because people say me a science (seance) (obeah) man, and even now, people still say me a science man and me no do nutten, but heal people. I eventually started back the work when I found my wife in 2007," Bishop told Family and Religion.
"I was baptised at a church in St Thomas, and while working in the church, I got a lot of fight because my spirit operates differently from them, so they say I had a 'poco' (of the Jamaican folk Pocomanian religion) spirit. He says when he is to do healing on a Wednesday, he abstains from engaging in sexual contact with his wife for the 24 hours leading up to the day. This Bishop said it allows him to be cleansed and pure in spirit and ready for the day's work.
"We believe in principle and good living. We believe in God, we no believe in obeah," remarked Bishop. Notwithstanding, people from far and wide attends the church on a Wednesday to get their healing. Many have also testified that they have been healed and have witnessed the healing of others. They dance and sing around the seal with movements that were quite entertaining; the spinning, rotating and whirling were appealing.
The Revival church he says operates different from other churches. There are coloured banners hanging high at different points inside the ceiling, live flowers set in a vase with water on the edge of the seal. The seal is a small circular pool with mineral water which is used in the cleansing and healing ritual. Coconuts are used to break destruction, the live flowers bring prosperity, and rum is used to ward off evil spirits.
Bishop says he has healed people with 'bad belly', 'sore foot' and all kinds of other ailments, too many to mention. He explained that "to be healed one must believe, you can't come for healing and have doubt, you must have faith and believe that you will get your breakthrough, you must tell yourself, I am going to be delivered," he said.